Monthly Archives: July 2014

It’s National Mutt Day

While Sam is a purebred, he’ll always be my special “mutt.”  Special in that he’s not too bright but also special in the way he interacts with people and other pets. Today on our morning run we stopped to visit one of his neighborhood friends, a chocolate Lab, named Moxie. She is very sweet and when she saw us, she began racing back and forth along the fence line trying to get Sam engaged. He was so excited by her running back and forth but just stood there, tail wagging furiously like a flag.  Moxie was showing off to her buddy and Sam loved the show!

What did you do with your ‘mutt’ this morning?  Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy National Mutt Day.

Who's a mutt?

Who’s a mutt?

Why I write

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

When I was invited by the fabulous ladies over at Campari and Sofa (http://campariandsofa.com/) to participate in this tagged blog, I was equally honored and scared to pieces.  That meant my recently born little blog was actually being read (and by two women whose blog I truly admire no less–can you say holy &#@%!) and not just by my Mom.  OMG…totally cool but…gulp (cue the scary music here), intimidating as all heck.

How does my writing differ from others in my genre? Anyone who writes a pet blog probably shares the same feelings for their pet as I have for Sam, yet my passion about his work as a pet therapy dog and how this wonderfully goofy fur-kid interacts with people is probably different from most pet blogs.  Humor is the one connecting thread I strive for throughout the blog.  My goal is to make every reader smile and feel better about life in general, but especially for those suffering from illness or injury.  Sam and I have an enormous amount of empathy for what they are going through and hope to lighten their load, even if only for a few moments, so they can move on to whatever comes next.  The same holds true for caregivers.  

Why do I write? I wanted to share our experiences as a pet therapy team but little did I know how strongly I felt about it, particularly the “transitional phase” of hospice.  To say I’m surprised has been an understatement.  When a person arrives at that last door in life with no one by their side, it breaks my heart to see them move on alone.  Sam and I are happy to hold their hand and hear the stories about their lives and their own pets as they embark on the next journey, wherever that takes them.  We are happy to escort them out of the hospital and back to regular lives but are especially grateful to those who won’t be leaving yet who feel comfortable enough sharing their thoughts and personal stories with us.  It’s humbling and rewarding beyond my wildest imagination.  

How does my writing process work? With a great deal of luck!  I try to look at life in general in such a way that others might be interested in what we are fortunate to see and hopefully have them positively impacted by our observations.  Most of my ideas take shape as we take our twice daily runs where I mull and ponder life’s twists and turns.  There’s so much to see and share when you look closely.

What I’m working on: My son, daughter and their families have recently moved (or are in the process of moving) away from Denver so I’m in kind of an emotional transition now.  Not sure in which direction I’m headed as we’ve always been close, but in the meantime I’ll watch Sam and see how he reacts to our adventures and how I can share those experiences with others till I figure it all out.  Sometimes I rant about people’s disconnection with each other through the advent of technology or on the thoughtlessness of people toward pets in general and have been accused of having ‘strong opinions about certain things.’  Frankly I don’t think we were put on this earth to dominate creatures, but to help steward their lives with compassionate care and love.

Please give a big hand to: So without further ado, let me pass the baton to my dear friend, the extremely talented designer/blogger/photographer, Anna from designpunk blog. (http://www.designpunkblog.com/).  Anna is a world and life traveler with whom I was fortunate enough to meet happenstance at a bus stop in our neighborhood and where we became friends and shared an addiction to Nutella lattes before she moved to Japan. Anna secretly started a design blog ages ago that I only recently discovered by accident (you wily girl, you).  She’s bright, charming, shares my twisted sense of humor and owns two gorgeous and quirky Boxers that Sam adores (even if Lulu doesn’t quite share his devotion).  So with hugs to you and ear scratches for Klaus and Lulu…tag, you’re it!

Lean on Me

Lean on me

Lean on me

Why do dogs lean?

We worked at the hospital over the weekend and thankfully we did not have a repeat performance of one of THOSE days where I managed to get both Sam and I all twitter-patted about silly stuff. And despite it being hotter than bloody-blue-blazes in the Mile High City, we encountered no problems this time.  No drama, no meltdowns, no lost ID badges or misplaced keys. It was pawsome and Sam was a rock star [note to self: act more like the dog and live in the moment, but I digress].

One thing I thought about while we were visiting the hospital was why does Sam lean against people so often?  I know–weird but haven’t you ever wondered why your dog leans against you?  Come on, fess up, you know you do.  Most people don’t seem to mind the leaning, they say something like “aw, he’s a leaner, just like my Rusty was…how cute!”  So it got me to wondering why dogs do that, and especially, why does Sam do it?

There are a few theories about why dogs lean. Some folks suggest the dog is trying to dominate or exert power over its human. They believe that the dog is trying to claim space or control the situation. Then there are those who think dogs lean to feel safe. They need to feel secure and the close touch reminds them of their litter mate days which, when you think about it makes sense since dogs are, after all ‘pack’ motivated. I tend to think that most of the time though, the dog is leaning because he’s just seeking attention.

Dogs lean for all those reasons at different times. Careful observation when they lean can provide clues in determining just why.  Specific instances show how dogs react to different scenarios. Take for example a rescued dog. He may lean against you to feel more secure [oh thank god, she’s still here to protect me!]. Other times they may be looking for reassurance dealing with loud noises or when they’re in unfamiliar territory or around strangers. And sometimes, they just want you to pay attention to them, much like when you get that nose jerk under the arm commanding” you to pet them or throw the ball or whatever at that moment.  And that’s all wonderful in my books.

in Sam’s case I do think he wants make that, craves attention. He just likes being around people and I can always tell when someone is especially high on his list of favs. We always check in at  the nurses station to see if there are any patients who especially want to see a pet therapy dog or those that absolutely don’t (hey their loss, but whatever–not my circus, not my monkeys). I noticed our absolute favorite one was manning the station-a male nurse who just happens to be Scottish. Whenever I see him I’m completely delighted by his unbridled enthusiasm for people and his love of dogs and then of course there’s that wonderful lilting brogue!  Sam adores him and when we saw him Saturday, the two of them greeted each other like two long lost BFF’s. He shared a couple stories about his own two dogs with me and I started to notice that Sam was leaning in pretty hard (while I’m just swooning at listening to him…I know, shameless-what can I say?).  But his voice is so soothing and that accent–oh my stars!!  He noticed Sam was leaning against his leg and chuckled out loud about it. “My Scottish Terriers don’t do that to me, it’s lovely that Sam does,” he said in that wonderful brogue (OMG, can you just hear it?). You’d have thought he hung the moon for Sam (not to mention for me) and well he kind of did.  🙂

After our chat we went off to visit patients and Sam seemed especially keen on leaning on people that day. He sat in front of a visitor in one room and leaned heavily against his leg. Everyone of the visitors in the room said “oh that Paul…dogs just love him” and I knew what they meant. He was kind and Sam couldn’t stop leaning and looking up at the guy. Even the patient commented on it and I think poor Paul was a bit embarrassed. No matter to Sam. It was heaven to this goofy Standard Poodle.  And when my pup is happy, I’m happy. ❤

So the bottom line I guess is in Sam’s case he probably does just want the attention. Then again maybe it’s his own way of giving attention back to a receptive soul. Either way, we’re all the better for it.  Hope your weekend was as grand as ours. 🐾

Size doesn’t matter

Grrr!

Grrr!

Yeah, I did say that but it doesn’t refer to what you think it might. 🙂 Size doesn’t matter in the world of dogs. Big or little. Yet I wonder why do little dogs in particular have to be so freaking aggressive if size doesn’t matter?  Is there truth to the ‘small dog syndrome?”  Can dogs have a Napoleon complex? Or do we uprights “make” them aggressive by constantly picking them up and letting them get the upper hand because “they’re so little and cute?”  We wouldn’t allow that kind of aggression from a big dog so why do these little guys seem to get away with it?

No disrespect toward little guys, but what IS it about those aggressive, noisy little ‘purse dogs’ you see?  As I’ve said before, my ‘hood is very pet friendly. Almost any time of the day you will encounter someone with a stroller or a small kid walking along with their dog in tow on the way to the cultural square to enjoy lunch, coffee, dinner or a shopping excursion. It’s just how we roll. And it’s one of the nicer aspects of living in this old, well-established neighborhood. And every day on our walks we see a number of dogs and several of them and their owners have become friends of ours.  On this morning’s walk, we encountered a couple of little dogs that we often encounter that were even more hostile than usual–barking, snarling and lunging toward us, so much so it was fairly alarming. Sam isn’t some hulking big Standard Poodle by any means (he’s actually a bit on the smaller size) and he’s certainly not intimidating.  At his size though, he could easily snap those 10-15 pounders like twigs.  But instead he’s balanced and calm around all the dogs he encounters which is probably why dogs (and people) like him.  Good dog, Sam!

At this morning’s encounter he just stood there, tail not aggressively positioned, eyes and ears soft and looking pretty bewildered like, “gee, what did I do to deserve this?” I too was flummoxed. It’s not like we bum-rushed these cantankerous little dogs, or acted hostile in any way. So if size doesn’t matter, why do little dogs go all ‘up-in-your-grill’ belligerent…every. single. time. we. come. across. these two?  Can anybody shed some light on that? I know some of you have small dogs, fill me in because I’m curious so I know how to handle the situation the next time we encounter those little demon dogs.  Then again, I don’t know…maybe if I were only  8 inches high in a world of giants, I’d have an attitude too. ❤

[Photo source public domain]

P. S.  To my small dog owning friends and readers, this post in no way should be taken as a criticism of their pups.  It’s merely an observation on a few pooches I have personal experience with in the neighborhood. Ok, those and that nasty little Min-Pin around the corner who terrorizes EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY.  No one likes him!  I personally know some of your small dogs and they seemed delightfully sweet. ❤️

🐾

I’ll have what she’s having…

image25 years ago on July 12, 1989 (egad…am I really old enough as to have an “I remember when” moment?), one of the most delightful movies of all time opened in selected theatres across America.  When Harry Met Sally debuted, it became the quintessential template for future romantic comedies. And who could forget that classic line by director Rob Reiner’s own Mom in the deli scene…I’ll have what she’s having?”

The movie (loosely based on Reiner’s own return to single life following divorce) examines whether men and women can ever be just friends and established a new way of thinking about everyday male/female relationships as viewed in the 80’s.  All those back and forth, quirky one-liners we heard throughout the movie set the stage for an enduring and enjoyable film.  Meg Ryan went on to become America’s sweetheart and Billy Crystal underscored his chops for impeccable comedic timing.

I, for one, hope that this weekend there’s at least one showing of this timeless film so I can at least record it for later viewing and relish all the classic exchanges between the title characters.  Like this one: Harry Burns: There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance. Sally Albright: Which one am I? Harry Burns: You’re the worst kind; you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance.😄

Wishing you a fabulous weekend.  Just thinking about what to order the next time at a deli, makes me giggle a bit.  ❤️

🐾

Life Experience of a Dog

image Good advice for uprights, too! 🐾

  1. Take naps and stretch before rising.
  2. Run, romp and play every day.
  3. If what you want is buried, dig until you find it.
  4. Never pass up a joyride.
  5. Don’t waste your food.
  6. Sniff things out before assuming they’re safe.
  7. Be loyal.
  8. Protect those you love.
  9. Drink lots of water.
  10. Don’t hold grudges.
  11. Let others know when they invade your space.
  12. Don’t bite if a growl will do.
  13. When loved ones come home, run to greet them.
  14. Mark your territory with abandon.
  15. Never turn down a treat or a walk.
  16. Love unconditionally. 🐾